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Canada's Libyan Misadventure

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Now that Moammar Gaddafi is gone, who will protect Canadians from the consequences of our 'victory' in Libya?

Canada and its allies claim their war against the Gaddafi regime was justified under the new international Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle. R2P guarantees people protection in various situations. Genocide? War crimes? Time for regime change? Under R2P, almost anything seems possible.

So, Canada responded to the colonel's threats against dissidents by clearing the Gaddafi Gang out of the Libyan corral.

But here's the problem.

Before all this, monstrous Moammar was playing pretty straight with us. He had largely backed away from terrorism. And thanks to the 2003 U.S. Iraq invasion, he got the message, ditched nuclear research and spilled the beans on his atomic suppliers.

Yes, Gaddafi would have slaughtered thousands in response to the Libyan uprising. But Canadians were, by and large, safe. Our R2P operations in Libya have changed that.

We launched a regime-change operation without any idea who would replace Gaddafi. In an orgy of post facto fact-finding, Foreign Minister John Baird raced into Libya with the foregone political conclusion: the rebels are our pals. French President Sarkozy achieved something similar by sending philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy -- "God is dead but my hair is perfect," goes the current jibe -- to Libya to rubber stamp comparably rash declarations.

Such people were oblivious to the Sinjar Records. These captured documents pinpoint origins of foreign terrorists in Iraq, and give evidence of the kinds of Islamists who might replace Gaddafi. West Point's Combating Terrorism Center concluded from these papers that Libya supplied roughly double per capita the terrorists provided by that 9/11 terrorist launch-pad, Saudi Arabia.

As one news source reported, "of the half of Libyans who listed their "work" in Iraq, more than 85 per cent volunteered to be suicide bombers." Nice work if you can get it.

As an illustration of the possibilities, consider that today's garrison-commander of the all-important Tripoli area is Abdul Hakim Belhadj, an apparent extremist. A veteran of the 1980s' Afghan jihad, he is reportedly a former head of the Islamist Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Belhadj led the country's al-Qaeda underground, and was targeted by the CIA's renditions' program.

Then there were people like Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu, veteran of the Afghan jihad who was released from Guantanamo prison. Now a significant rebel leader, Qumu was declared by U.S. authorities "a probable member of al-Qaeda," according to the New York Times.

Add to this, reports that Sudan's army -- the sharp end of Khartoum's genocidal Islamist regime -- may have fought in Libya on the side of our National Transitional Council 'allies,' and be ready to shape the new Libyan leadership -- with Iran's help.

Then there is the draft Libyan constitution, imposing Sharia Islamic law. Such systems in other countries commonly manifest themselves in various forms of religious and gender apartheid. In Saudi Arabia, Iran and -- increasingly -- 'Arab Spring' Egypt, for example, non-Muslims are debased as second-class citizens, or worse, and women valued in fractional terms of men. As though to demonstrate the threat, the new post-Gaddafi acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril announced as a first act of "liberation" the quashing of Gaddafi laws banning polygamy.

Now that the possibility of a radical-Islamic Libya is finally dawning on western leaders, the White House and its allies have something further to fear: obtuse war-planning may have caused about 20,000 portable Libyan surface-to-air (SAM) missiles to go missing. Missiles like this eat airliners for breakfast.

Our political commanders ignored facts, especially this one: without enough boots on the ground, you cannot guard the arms depots of the state you've R2Ped into chaos. Guns and bombs -- and 20,000 missiles -- can go loose, be used by enemies to kill our forces and, eventually, average citizens here at home.

In this regard, it is amazing that air passengers weren't worthy of a little R2P-type concern when governments were planning Gaddafi's demise. We've known for decades that airliners have been dead ducks in the sights of SAMs. Only now are our blindsided governors thinking to ask how that radar-jamming-anti-heat-seeking-infrared research stuff is going.

So what is the result of all this R2P adventuring?

Canada charged into a military mission with no guarantee about which of our enemies might ultimately run Libya as a base targeting Canadians. Muslim Brotherhood? Al-Qaeda? Iran? Sudan? Some combination?

And to reinforce the risks, we supported international funding of Libya's new jumble of leadership, a leadership that is proving sympathetic to Sharia impositions.

Meanwhile, North Korea tells Britain's ambassador that the Libyan intervention taught Kim Jong-Il never to give up his nukes. Gaddafi did, they said, and look what happened to him. Has Canada helped save thousands in Libya only to hazard the future of millions of potential nuclear victims, including those West Coast Canadians within Pyongyang's ballistic missile range?

Concurrent with all this, Libya becomes an international weapons Wal-Mart that is literally going great guns in the Proliferation Department. Al-Qaeda and Iran's Quds Force are making off with everything from bullets to missiles.

True, most of this material could get detonated in the region. But you never know when some of it might come up to greet you on your next carefree airline descent into a Canadian airport.

Who will have the responsibility to protect you then?

David B. Harris, director of the International Intelligence Program of INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc., is a lawyer with 30 years in intelligence affairs. This is an updated an expanded version of articles appearing in the Calgary Herald and Ottawa Citizen.